Bill Swanson’s 33 unwritten rules

1: Learn to say, “I don’t know.” If used when appropriate, it will be used often.

2: It is easier to get into something than to get out of it.

3: If you are not criticized, you may not be doing much.

4: Look for what is missing. Many know how to improve what’s there; few can see what isn’t there.

5: Presentation rule: When something appears on a slide presentation, assume the world knows about it and deal with it accordingly.

6. Work for a boss to whom you can tell it like it is. Remember, you can’t pick your family, but you can pick your boss.

7: Constantly review developments to make sure that the actual benefits are what they were supposed to be. Avoid Newton’s Law.

8: However menial and trivial your early assignments may appear, give them your best effort.

9: Persistence or tenacity is the disposition to persevere in spite of difficulties, discouragement or indifference. Don’t be known as a good starter but a poor finisher!

10: In doing your project, don’t wait for others; go after them and make sure it gets done.

11: Confirm the instructions you give others, and their commitments, in writing. Don’t assume it will get done.

12: Don’t be timid: Speak up, express yourself and promote your ideas.

13: Practice shows that those who speak the most knowingly and confidently often end up with the assignment to get the job done.

14: Strive for brevity and clarity in oral and written reports.

15: Be extremely careful in the accuracy of your statements.

16: Don’t overlook the fact that you are working for a boss. Keep him or her informed. Whatever the boss wants, within the bounds of integrity, takes top priority.

17: Promises, schedules and estimates are important instruments in a well-run business. You must make promises — don’t lean on the often-used phrase: “I can’t estimate it because it depends on many uncertain factors.”

18: Never direct a complaint to the top; a serious offense is to “cc” a person’s boss on a copy of a complaint before the person has a chance to respond to the complaint.

19: When interacting with people outside the company, remember that you are always representing the company. Be especially careful of your commitments.

20: Cultivate the habit of boiling matters down to the simplest terms: the proverbial “elevator speech” is the best way.

21: Don’t get excited in engineering emergencies: Keep your feet on the ground.

22: Cultivate the habit of making quick, clean-cut decisions.

23: When making decisions, the “pros” are much easier to deal with than the “cons.” Your boss wants to see both.

24: Don’t ever lose your sense of humor.

25: Have fun at what you do. It will be reflected in you work. No one likes a grump except another grump!

26: Treat the name of you company as if it were your own.

27: Beg for the bad news.

28: You remember 1/3 of what you read, 1/2 of what people tell you, but 100% of what you feel.

29: You can’t polish a sneaker.

30: When facing issues or problems that are becoming drawn-out, “short them to the ground.”

31: When faced with decisions, try to look at them as if you were one level up in the organization. Your perspective will change quickly.

32: A person who is nice to you but rude to the waiter, or to others, is not a nice person. (This rule never fails).

33: Never be afraid to try something new. Remember, an amateur built an ark that survived a flood while a large group of professionals built the Titanic!

Postscript: The qualities of leadership boil down to confidence, dedication, integrity and love.

Raytheon CEO Bill Swanson’s 33 unwritten rules of management. Are you a good leader? Or aspiring to be held as one? Read these rules and digest them.

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Published in: on April 15, 2006 at 10:51am  Comments (13)  

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  1. […] Bill Swanson’s 33 unwritten rules of Management 1: Learn to say, “I don’t know.” If used when appropriate, it will be used often. 2: It is easier to get into something than to get out of it. 3: If you are not criticized, you may not be doing much. 4: Look for what is missing. Many know how to improve what’s there; few can see what isn’t there. 5: Presentation rule: When something appears on a slide presentation, assume the world knows about it and deal with it accordingly. […]

  2. great quotes Bill!

    • Are you totally out of touch with the fact that Bill Swanson was caught plagiarizing his “unwritten rules.” If not, may I suggest you make a written rule for yourself and not buy into this asshole’s image. He’s a liar.

  3. OMG… he was already called out for plagiarizing this crap. Why are you dumbasses giving kudos to such a liar?

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  5. […] Raytheon CEO Bill Swanson received a lot of attention for his “33 Unwritten Rules of Management”. […]

  6. Refreshing words of guidance and wisdom…Thanks

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  10. Easy to be glib when the biggest government in the world cuts you checks to make bombs that are rarely used.

  11. […] help you does not give you the right to be nasty to them. After all, I believe in the saying from William H Swanson’s 33 Unwritten Rules of Management, “A person who is nice to you but rude to the waiter, or to others, is not a nice person. […]

  12. I have this in book form and would love to get more copies, any ideas where to find them!


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